Florida State's defense has dealt with severe setbacks due to injury in 2016, starting with a serious (but not season-ending) injury to star safety Derwin James in the second game of the season. But injuries, which include the loss of James and a line that has been banged up during the season, haven't been the only issues for the Seminoles on defense.
Florida State ranks No. 113 nationally in opposing passer rating and has allowed opposing quarterbacks to average more than 10 yards per attempt in three different games this season (Louisville, USF, North Carolina). That group played at a high level in the second half against Brad Kaaya and Miami, but there's been more evidence to suggest that's the exception than there is examples to point to Saturday night as a turnaround moment.
But if this defense is going to build on that Miami game moving forward, it's going to be without senior defensive back Nate Andrews. On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher told reporters that Andrews will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.
With 44 games of experience, no one is more seasoned in Florida State's defensive backfield than Andrews. In fact, when Andrews missed the first two games of the 2016 season it was the first time he'd missed action because of an injury.
"Nate's everything that you want," Fisher said, via 247Sports. "Whatever you say as a coach, whatever you do, he reinforces those values with his comments and everything he does. He's what's right about being a teammate and helping guys along."
Florida State's depth issues on the back end of the defense already resulted in Ermon Lane moving over from wide receiver and this development should add to his growing workload. Against Miami, his first time playing defense, Lane had four tackles.